Meek Mill Denounces Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence Over Protest Music

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Meek Mill denounced the execution of Iranian musician Toomaj Salehi by an Iranian court for his protest music last Thursday (April 25), as per a couple of tweets on X. 

Against the ruling, the Dreams and Nightmares creator tweeted to his 11 million followers: “Got sentenced to death over a song free that man wtf” and “Free toomaj.”

Toomaj Salehi, 33, is an Iranian recording artist known for his protest music who was arrested multiple times before being sentenced to death. His music was against the Iranian government after the death of Jina “Mahsa” Amini, a protestor who died in police custody. 

Salehi’s attorney confirmed the execution order with plans for the appeal process on Wednesday (April 24). “The primary court sentenced Toomaj Salehi to the harshest punishment, death, on the charge of ‘corruption on Earth,” Amir Raesian, Salehi’s attorney, told the press. “We will definitely appeal this sentence.”

Salehi was sentenced to six years in prison for participating in protests over Amini’s death, but was released after Iran’s Supreme Court identified flaws in the sentence. He was rearrested in November 2022 after he shared a video of being tortured while in confinement for 252 days in October 2022. 

Toomaj Salehi’s sentence spread on social media with support from celebrities like Nazanin Boniadi, who created a TikTok requesting help to spread awareness. Iranian celebrities like Boniadi, Arian Moayed, and Maz Jobrani have been promoting awareness of Saheli’s situation since 2023.

Meek Mill appears to be the only major-label American hip-hop artist to publicly support the Toomaj since his sentence went public on social media. 

Meek Mill’s run-ins with the justice system date back to his adolescence. After achieving fame in 2011, he spent a year in prison from 2017 to 2018 over a probation violation. It would take the support of Jay-Z, Philadelphia 76ers owner Michael Rubin, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and the Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kennedy, to overturn his 2-4 sentencing. 

In 2019, Meek Mill and Jay-Z launched the prison reform organization Reform Alliance with a $50 million investment. In February, the organization appointed ex-convict-turned-podcaster Wallo267 as its Chief Marketing Officer. There is no word on whether the Reform Alliance plans to assist with Toomaj Saheli’s case now. 

The Grammys released a statement on Friday denouncing with Meek Mill via social media.

“The Recording Academy is deeply troubled by the recent news regarding Toomaj Salehi. No artist anywhere should have to fear for their life or livelihood when expressing themselves through their art. Music is a powerful force for good in the world and is needed today more than ever. We stand with music creators around the globe who use their gifts to shed light on the human condition and will continue to work tirelessly to protect artistic freedom.”

Hot 97’s Ebro Darden supported the Academy’s post with the comment, “Stay resilient.”

Toomaj Salehi is the first rapper to receive the death penalty in 28 years for charges unrelated to those of Cool C, a Philadelphia rapper who was sentenced in 1996.

Salehi is the first rapper to have their lyrics used as evidence in a court case and receive the death penalty, while Young Thug and YNW Melly currently have ongoing cases where the use of song lyrics is being argued as evidence in the US. Several of Young Thug’s lyrics can be used as evidence during testimony. 

Meek Mill has shown his support for Young Thug and YNW Melly on social media.